Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The sounds of silence

"So, how quiet was it?"

One of the surgeons I work with posed that seemingly random question at work today. But I knew exactly what he meant. I sighed.

"So quiet, you could hear the hearts breaking."

Sports Guy addressed that very thing today. It is a truly eerie sound, one which I hope I never hear again.

No, wait, I guess I DO want to hear it. But this time, from Busch Stadium, sometime in the next couple of days. Although truly, it is hard for me to wish such a gut-wrenching emotion upon anyone else. But the Cardinals, and Cards fans, you've had your chance. Many times. It's the Astros' turn.

Coming out of the game last night, I was astounded by the fans' attitudes. People were tearing up tickets, I repeatedly heard mutterings of "Well, that's that." "We're done." Some fans almost picked fights with the few Cards supporters milling about. The bar across the street from the park, usually so full of people that the lines to the bar stream into two lanes of traffic, emptied as quickly and quietly as Frenchman Flat in 1951.

I found it infuriating. So much has been written about the Astros making Houston a baseball town. But it seemed to me to be more of what I was used to, the we-only-like-them-when-they're-winning mindset. What happened to all the "We Bee-lieve!" And what about the other two games to play? I felt in that moment that the Astros still deserved, and still would get, their shot. But I thought the city of Houston didn't deserve theirs.

But after reading the above-mentioned column on espn.com, I relented a little in my anger at my fellow fans. After all, I knew exactly what that sucker punch felt like, too. After the first two outs by Lidge, you finally give in, you finally let down your guard, you finally let yourself start feeling just a little bit giddy. . . then, wham. The disappointment was something you felt all the way into your soul; it made your soul palpable, something you could actually feel inside you as it knotted up. And then that door to your soul closed.

If my fellow fans have been through that more than once over the years, then they have my sympathy. I have not been a life-long baseball fan, so who am I to criticize? I'm guessing, for longer fans than I, that it had the feel of being teased and tempted by an old flame, only to be rebuffed upon the final commitment. If so, then I'll allow them a night of bitterness. That's fair.

But I still say, that if any Houston team in recent memory can get to the Fall Classic, it's this one. The one that has come back, time and time again, for six and a half months. The one that was supposed to be rebuilding. The one that was written off, with an article in the local paper accompanied by a picture of a tombstone, back in May. The one that played 18 improbable innings of history a mere week ago. The one that's taken 3 of the last four games at Busch Stadium. This one.

Go 'Stros!


At 5:28 AM, Blogger Leah said...

I know. I've only been through '98 and '03 with the Cubs. My poor father-in-law has sat through '69 and '84 as well. Then HIS dad had to deal with '45 and the AWFUL teams in the '50s. I sure hope I can take 60 more years of this...


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